Are you excited for Ixalan? I mean, look, I know Amonkhet comes out this week and Hour of Devastation comes out this summer but come on, Ixalan just seems so cool.

You’ve got the name of the set and, uh, that Atlazan leak from a few months ago? So maybe it’s the Atlantis set we’ve been expecting? Maybe it’s not?

Wait, who scheduled this hype train to leave the station? We haven’t even seen Nicol Bolas make his grand entrance as god-pharaoh of Amonkhet. What gives?

Something seems to have gone off the rails here with regards to the completely-out-of-the-blue reveal of the fall expansion’s name. In an article by Helene Bergeot that was full of Organized Play announcements, the new set name was revealed well in advance of June’s announcement day.


What confuses me most is that Wizards of the Coast has been making a concerted effort over the past few years to build up controlled hype for new expansions. This reveal is a complete departure from anything resembling a coherent plan for generating excitement.

Manufacturing hype for an upcoming product is challenging, but Wizards has shown themselves capable in the past. I think it’s safe to say that Amonkhet has been well-hyped as was Kaladesh. Just this week the fine folks who make official announcements launched the campaigns for the 25th Anniversary/Iconic Masters as well as Commander (2017 Edition).

So why am I here talking about concern for the Ixalan hype train? Well for starters the Organized Play department doesn’t usually reveal set names. Or any expansion details. It’s kind of weird to see this information revealed by Helene Bergeot instead of through the official announcement channels.

The communications team is usually responsible for these announcements and you know they put a lot of work into crafting them. Announcement day, which was recently postponed to June, is the brain-child of the community team.

But this week both Iconic Masters and Commander 2017, as mentioned above, were announced outside of the expected announcement day. The Ixalan reveal wasn’t the only oddity and it makes you wonder why these inconsistencies are cropping up all of a sudden.

Announcement day was moved to June because of the plans to celebrate Magic the Gathering’s 25th anniversary and MTGO’s 15th anniversary. From Blake Rasmussen:

After much discussion and looking at our calendars, we opted to do one large, 25th Anniversary Announcement in June rather than one now and one then.

And that makes sense. Why confuse people? Why spread out the hype by having some of it in March or April and the bulk of it in June? But here we are, exactly one month from when Blake wrote those words, and we’ve already gotten an announcement about the 25th Anniversary and its relation to HasCon and the new Iconic Masters expansion.

I’m not saying this is bad. I’m just saying that there’s a surprising amount of inconsistency in announcements and this is a sudden change. For a while there it looked like Wizards had a solid game-plan for controlling the message when it comes to new expansions.

But now, as we approach the 25th anniversary, they once again look like a startup being pulled in multiple directions, still trying to find their compass.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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